Kipchoge Keino gets first Olympic Laurel award at Rio opening ceremony
Veteran Kenyan athlete and two-time Olympic champion Kipchoge Keino is the first athlete in the world to receive the Olympic Laurel award.
Keino received the award during the opening ceremony of the official Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Friday evening.
The award has been created by the International Olympic Committee to honour outstanding sportsmen and women for their achievements in social engagements.
It will be given every four years during the during the Olympic games to those with achievements in education, culture, development and peace through sport.
The panel which nominated Keino included famous author Paulo Coelho; Michaëlle Jean the secretary general of La Francophonie (Americas); and United Nations Under-Secretary and Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.
Others on the panel are former president of Timor-Leste and Nobel Peace Prize laureate (Oceania) José Ramos-Horta; actor Michelle Yeoh (Asia); and IOC Honorary President Jacques Rogge (Europe).
After retiring from competition in 1973, Keino opened a children’s home, which is today home to almost 100 Kenyan orphans. In 1999, he followed with the opening of the Kip Keino School, in an isolated region lacking schools, offering more than 300 children aged from 6 to 13 the chance to get an education.
In 2002, he opened the Kip Keino High Performance Training Centre, welcoming the most promising athletes in Kenya.
To this day, the Olympian continues his amazing work as a an IOC Member and Chairman of the Kenyan Olympic Committee (KOC).
“We come into this world with nothing … and depart this world with nothing … it’s what we contribute to the community that is our legacy.” Keino said.